Horse Human Heart Connection:
Transformation at a Primal Level

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What my Horse Whispered: If you are troubled,stand by me.

 I’ve been having some trouble in one of my closest relationships. I am asking that we work through a problem that stares us in the face daily and is becoming too painful to ignore.  I find no consolation in knowing that confronting and resolving this issue will make our relationship deeper, stronger and more intimate.  Instead, my emotions flip between wanting to curl up and cry or lashing out in anger. I feel stuck, not sure of my next step.  Where do I go from here?

 From the time I was ten years old, I’ve known that I could always find emotional peace and safety with my horses. So, today, I drove my troubled self out to be with my horse, Nautic.  I brushed him and took him out to graze on the new grass that had sprouted up after our first big rainfall.  As I watched and listened to him eating, I experienced the familiar, warm, wonderful magic of being in a horse’s presence: my mind quieted, my heart calmed and I felt peaceful.

 Is being in my horse’s presence really magical? A study by the Institute of HeartMath confirmed that bidirectional “healing” occurs when we are near horses. By measuring electromagnetic fields, researchers found that the heart has a larger energy field than the brain. A horse’s heart is five times bigger and stronger than a human’s and directly influences human heart rhythms. Researchers also found that the physiological benefits that occur when interacting with horses included: lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of neurotransmitters (pain suppressors) and reduced feelings of anger, hostility and anxiety.

 Psychologists have identified a similar phenomenon in human-to-human interactions influencing heart rhythm called, entrainment. It’s defined as; the process that activates or provides a timing cue for a biological rhythm. I’ve witnessed entrainment by watching a mother calm her crying infant by gently holding its head against her breast so the baby can hear her heartbeat. The peace and stability of one being seems to override and quiet the fear and distress of another. Although researchers may not say it this way; a calm peaceful presence is stronger and able to neutralize fear and distress.

 As Nautic is standing in the sun munching on sweet, green grass, my heart and my breathing respond to his rhythm.  I experience gentle physical and emotional healing by simply being near my horse. In this peaceful space I reconnect my body-mind-soul and find clarity.  I know what the next steps I need to take as I peacefully face the challenges I have today. My horse’s heart and peaceful presence are bigger and more powerful then my troubled self. As I stand in his wordless, calm presence, I receive amazing grace.

 I think about loved ones and my clients and want to be more like my horse when I am around them: having a big, strong peaceful presence and giving them space and time they need to find answers as they regain their balance and emotional footing.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. -Rumi



Chop Wood, Carry Water and Carry On
Posted by Julie Stass on 09/09/15

My Therapist Eats A blog for anyone who has experienced the power of the horse-human connection.

What my horse whispered today: “Chop Wood, Carry Water and Carry On.

My friend, Susan, who is one of my favorite horse people, gave me some awful news a few days ago.  The results of her biopsies revealed she has an aggressive form of breast cancer that has metastasized.

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What My Horse Whispered: How Old Are You Today?
Posted by Julie Stass on 04/14/15

I turned 64 yesterday. My mother, a vibrant 83 years young, sent me a birthday card that read: “no matter what, don’t act your age.” She reminded me to follow that advice during our phone conversation later that day. What is acting your age? Is it true we get better as we age? If I didn’t know how old I was, how old would I be?

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Why Horses?
Posted by Julie Stass on 03/13/15

Be very careful about what you ask for in life. Spending a weekend with a horse whisperer and a herd of horses, became an adventure that irreversibly changed the focus and direction of my life.

Up until that weekend, my life was predictable. I did what I thought was expected of me. Being a responsible adult meant putting away childish things and disconnecting from essentially anything that made me feel alive. By silencing my authentic, essential self, I exchanged playfulness for a perpetual emotional state of confusion and apathy. Nothing really made me happy. It felt like there was a piece of my soul missing. I traded what I loved for the approval of my parents and the ominous “everybody”.

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